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The Survival of the Princes in the Tower: Murder, Mystery and Myth

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The murder of the Princes in the Tower is the most famous cold case in English or British history. Traditionally considered victims of a ruthless uncle, there are other suspects too often and too easily discounted. There may be no definitive answer, but by delving into the context of their disappearance and the characters of the suspects, Matthew Lewis will examine the mot ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 1st 2018 by The History Press
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Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read literally hundreds of books about Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, I wasn't sure anything new could be possible, but Matthew sheds new light on some of the well-known facts as well as suggesting some theories that I, at least, hadn't heard before. He sorts everything into chronological order, including reasons why it is illogical to think Richard murdered his nephews and the stories of the various pretenders who plagued Henry Tudor's reign (good!) His points are well-reasone ...more
Charlie Fenton
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really wanted to give this five stars (it is probably more of a 4.5) as it is a great book and I have discussed this with the author, it just has a few minor problems. I found it became a little confused when he covered Lambert Simnel, it became unclear as to whether the author believes he was the real Earl of Warwick (who was in the Tower at the time), Edward V or an imposter. There was little on the actual man in the Tower, which seemed strange after exploring the Lambert Simnel affair so th ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Let me start this review by clarifying that I, too, am not convinced that Richard III ordered the murders of his nephews Edward V and Richard, duke of York in 1483. I am very open to the possibility that either, or both, of the Princes in the Tower survived, perhaps well into the sixteenth-century. For these reasons, I was very much looking forward to reading this book, having previously read a number of books about the Princes in the Tower. However, I had a lot of problems with this book, which ...more
Nathen Amin
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Princes in the Tower is possibly the UK’s most enduring historical mystery, certainly up there with the disappearance of Lord Lucan and the Jack the Ripper murders, one which the author probably rightly believes is as hotly debated today through social media as it was in contemporary taverns during the 15th century. Thanks to the remarkable pen of Shakespeare and the many incarnations of his play on stage and silver screen, many people still hold the princes’ uncle Richard III responsible fo ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This was an interesting account of the mystery of the princes in the tower, supposedly murdered by their uncle Richard lll in order to gain the throne of England. This book offered several very plausible theories suggesting one or both boys actually survived. Its a mystery which I find fascinating, and one which I don't think will ever be satisfactorily solved. DNA tests on the bones in a casket in Westminster Abbey would give an immediate answer. I am one of those Richard supporters who think h ...more
When I first came upon the mystery of the Princes in the Tower, I was certain Richard III was guilty. Over time I came, at one point or another, to see the truth in nearly every theory except one - that they survived. Until fairly recently, I thought it was an idea that was sensationalist and couldn't possibly have any truth to it. And then, as part of a unit at uni on the Wars of the Roses, I read an article on Tyrell's confession, and his being in Calais in the 1480s, and the mysterious amount ...more
Sarah Bryson
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Matthew Lewis’ book ‘The Survival of the Princes in the Tower’ is a fascinating look at what may have happened to Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, sons of King Edward IV after the death of their father. History, famously written by Sir Thomas More and William Shakespeare, tells of the death of the Princes in 1483 under the orders of their Uncle the ruthless Richard III – yet there is far more to the young Princes’ story than More or Shakespeare would have us believe.

As Lewis explained, histo
John Gribbin
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the story of the sons of Edward IV, allegedly murdered on the orders of Richard III. Matthew Lewis makes a strong case that they were not murdered at all, but survived to cause problems for Henry VII for many years. No spoilers here -- you will have to check the evidence yourself. Four stars not five, though, because in the last chapter the author gets carried away with some rather wild speculation, which doesn't fit the story he has so carefully presented up to that point. ...more
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
I do love a good intrigue. A lot to think about. I've been of the mind for a long time that they were killed in the Tower. Henry VII may have found out that they were dead and that's why he could re-legitimize Elizabeth and her sisters. But still, interesting threads to tug at, full review to come. ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many books have been written on the murder of the princes in the tower so it was refreshing to read a book with a different approach.
The author discusses all the current theories as to who killed the two princes, and then he devotes the rest of the book to various theories on their survival. A lot of information is given on Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. Then he discusses a new theory (at least to me) that the two boys were alive and well throughout the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII.
V.E. Lynne
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, and quite persuasive, account of the possible survival of the infamous 'Princes in the Tower'. Well researched and argued and doesn't give too much credence to some of the more outlandish theories about the princes (although Edward V surviving and becoming the grandfather of Guildford Dudley was a bit far fetched). Highly enjoyable and informative read. ...more
Jun 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Super informative and I could tell the author put a lot of thought and research into it.
Alex Marchant
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
‘The Survival of the Princes in the Tower’ offers a rational investigation of the contemporary and near-contemporary sources to discover the real story of what happened to the sons of Edward IV, reportedly last seen alive in the Tower of London in the summer or autumn of 1483.
For more than 400 years 'history' has blithely accepted the Tudor version of this story - that the boys were murdered and that a monstrous villain, King Richard III, was behind the crime - without questioning how that vers
N.W. Moors
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Survival of the Princes in the Tower is an intriguing book that posits a different view of the question: who murdered the Princes in the Tower? Rather than listing the various reasons Richard III, Henry VII, Margaret Beaufort, Buckingham, or others might be guilty, Mr. Lewis contends that either one or probably both survived the reign of Richard III. He lists the possibilities of what might have happened to them, relying on what he calls the 'black hole effect'. The absence of real informati ...more
Heidi Malagisi
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest mysteries of all time is what happened to the young princes, the sons of Edward IV, who were held in the Tower of London. Many people believed that they were killed. There are some who believe that Richard III had them murdered and there are some who say that Henry VII ordered the deed to be done. But what if they were never killed? What if they survived? That is the premise of Matthew Lewis’s book “The Survival of the Princes in the Tower: Murder, Mystery and Myth”.

I have al
Kt Dixon
Jul 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
It took me five attempts to finish this book, perhaps an omen. I can’t for the life of me work out how it has so many good reviews. I thought maybe I just didn’t get it but I’ve read some more reader reviews and can see I’m not completely alone.

First of all, I don’t know a hell of a lot about the Princes in the Tower and Richard III so it has always interested me. The author did challenge my thought that the bones found in the White Tower were conveniently the boys by showing how convenient for
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting examination of the contemporary evidence concerning the death or survival of Edward and Richard of York. He spends a great deal of time on how the two main "pretenders" were treated and talked about while their invasion attempts were going on. Although it will never be certain, it does seem much more likely that I thought that they were legit.
Occasionally he sort of overworks his evidence (yes, a certain thing might possibly mean what he says, but it's not absolutely necessary it mea
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of history's great mysteries has asked the question "Who killed the princes in the Tower?" The more I've read about King Richard III and especially after reading this book, I'm starting to wonder if that shouldn't be more of a possible follow-up question. The real question should be, "What happened to the Princes in the Tower?"

Thanks to Thomas More, William Shakespeare, as well as Tudor propagandists, for centuries the prevailing sense has been that Richard III killed his nephews to make his
Lily Andrew-Martin
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
*Yet again, not going to do a spoiler warning - THIS IS HISTORY FOLKS. LOOK IT UP*

After re-reading Philippa Gregory's The White Queen, it seemed a better time than ever to read this book. I have always been fascinated by 'The Princes in the Tower' aka King Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, who mysteriously vanished in the Tower of London in 1483. And this book...HAS MADE ME EVEN MORE CONFUSED! What happened to them? Who killed them, if they were indeed murdered? Where did they go if they escap
angharad mair
"It is easy to characterise the Princes in the Tower as one unit, clinging together in fear for their lives as Victorian portraits present them. In fact, they would have been virtual strangers."

Here’s the thing, The Survival of the Princes in the Tower: Murder, Mystery and Myth was such an interesting book and is highly informative, it just had the unfortunate downside of being so very repetitive!

It certainly taught me a lot, and gave me much to think about as it is clear that the au
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We all know the story -- the two young sons of Edward IV imprisoned in the Tower after their father's death, and murdered on the orders of their usurper uncle, Richard III, so that he could steal the throne of England.

Or do we? After all, history is written by the winners. And the tale gained a lot of traction after Shakespeare's play, Richard III -- a play one might even call slanderous. (By the way, Richard wasn't a hunchback, either.)

Matthew Lewis isn't saying that it didn't happen. Richard d
The premise of this book is intriguing because it explores the idea that one or both of the "Princes in the Tower" were not murdered but survived. Richard III is usually accused of murdering his nephews (not without reason - they disappeared under watch) but in this book the author takes us beyond this hypothesis and offers his own view of what happened. Could, for instance, Lambert Simnel have been one of the princes? Or Perkin Warbeck?
In this book, Lewis deconstructs the myth, looking critica
Carolina Casas
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The mystery of who murdered the princes in the tower will never be solved. The author doesn't attempt to solve a 500+ mystery. That's not his objective. His objective is to demonstrate to his readers why their disappearance posed a huge problem for everyone who may have been voluntarily or involuntarily involved and why, over a century later, the question as to what really happened to them and who were the real culprits. All these different hypothesis reflect the geo-political situation of the t ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As someone who has been fascinated with and studied this historical mystery for many years, I found this book a complete revelation in opening up possibilities which I had never previously considered or dreamt of. I struggled to come to terms with some of the theories whilst also realising that some were such a paradigm shift that I needed time to come to terms with them. Particularly intrigued with the Holbein Thomas More painting interpretation.
Overall, a very refreshing set of theories and a
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, kindle
A very interesting and enjoyable read. There are some plausible theories that the Princes survived. One of histories biggest mysteries.

I personally lean on the opinion that they survived and the Richard III being evil as Tudor propaganda to shore up the new monarchy in eyes of the public. Essentially based on Thomas More's writings and Shakespeare's play.

History is always written by the winner after all.

All in all a good read and some very good theories. I especially liked the breakdown of Ha
Lynne Jones
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read with lots of detail from more than one source.
A great idea to look at their survival rather than their demise.

It most certainly raised questions and made a lot of sense too.
Having read various renditions regarding Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, I'm very much of the opinion that the boys survived.

Why wasn't Buckingham blamed?
Why didn't Richard III simply speak up?
Did Henry VII know his Brothers-in-law were alive and well and no threat?

Reading this book certainly
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-books
I'm quitting this one as a DNF at 30%. The author draws a VERY long bow of conjecture to support his theory that the princes may have survived. He finds numerous reasons why the sources used to support the "Richard III killed them" theory are unreliable, yet he doesn't subject his own sources to the same scrutiny, even when they are far more nebulous. In addition to this, his writing is not straight forward, and the arguments far from clear. At times he seems almost to contradict himself, trying ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best book I have read on this topic. It is not often I read a history book cover to cover as part of my history degree, but this one left me unable to put it down. Hats off to Matthew for writing an enjoyable, easy-to-read and interesting book that addressed issues I'd never even considered before. It would be hard to call this book anything less than one of my favourites, full stop. ...more
Allison Symes
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well thought out and presented arguments that the Princes in the Tower survived Richard III's reign, indeed that he had made provision for them. Interesting arguments also on what could have happened to them (and backed up too with historical documents). Definitely worth reading whether you support Richard III or not. ...more
Donna D'Agostino
Couldn't Put It Down

Some years ago I read a book that convinced me that Richard III had not murdered his nephews. This book gives several possible scenarios for their survival. There is no definitive proof either way but the circumstantial evidence is compelling. It was a good read.
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Matthew Lewis is the author of histories and historical fiction novels about Richard III and the Wars of the Roses. The medieval period is a particular passion of Matthew’s, a passion he hopes to share through his blog. He is dedicated to teaching and discussing this period, operating two history podcasts and providing bite-sized facts to his Twitter and Facebook following.

Lewis has degree in Law

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“Yes, that’s right. More claims that John Dighton confessed to the act of killing Edward V and Richard, Duke of York alongside Tyrell and that, although Tyrell was executed, Dighton walked free and was still at liberty a decade later when More began writing.” 1 likes
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